Harmful viruses, bacteria and other microorganisms, foul odors, chemical fumes, gases, particulates, ozone and other air pollutants pose a serious risk to the health of occupants in commercial buildings. Poor ventilation, ductwork and HVAC system design and maintenance can lead to the spread of infection disease, especially during times of epidemic or pandemic. This is why healthy indoor air quality is vital for occupant health, comfort and productivity.
The main purpose of an air cleaner is to purify the indoor air. Air cleaners use powerful fans to circulate the air in a building, pushing it through a filter that traps particles of air pollution and prevents them from being inhaled. The filters are the key components of an air cleaner and their effectiveness is measured using a standard called the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV). The higher the MERV rating, the better the filter will perform.
Viruses, allergens and other microscopic particulates can be trapped by a well-designed filter. An air cleaner with a MERV rating of 13 or higher should be capable of eliminating 90 percent of the 1 to 10-micron size particles from the air. An even more effective choice is a HEPA-rated filter, which eliminates 95% of the particles from the air that are between 0.3 and 1 microns in size.
Carbon filters are also useful for removing gaseous pollutants such as volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. These are chemicals that can come from a variety of sources such as wood-burning, industrial emissions and paints. They can cause irritation in the eyes and nose and be very toxic to humans if inhaled. A carbon filter will also remove ozone, which is formed by the breakdown of nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide.
The ozone can cause lung problems and reduce pulmonary function. This is why a commercial air cleaner should also have a neutralizing agent, such as ionizers or electrostatic precipitators. These will neutralize the ozone and other harmful gases. In addition, a good commercial air cleaner should have low noise levels and easy to operate controls. Those with air quality sensors that constantly test the air for ozone and other pollutants and adjust fan speed accordingly are particularly desirable. Some models include programmable timers and other features. They should be easy to maintain, cost-effective and offer a long warranty period. Many manufacturers of commercial air cleaners provide helpful guides for buyers that explain their devices and how to use them. Some also have videos that demonstrate how their products work. Whether your space is small or large, there is a commercial air cleaner out there that will meet your needs. To find the best one for you, consider the size of your space, your preferred filter types, noise level and warranty terms before making a purchase. This will ensure you are getting the most out of your investment. If you need help deciding, call an expert to get advice on choosing the best air cleaner for your needs.